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€1,455 pledged of €25,019 goal
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By Jan von Meppen | CEO LudInc
€1,455 pledged of €25,019 goal
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About

3 Lessons learned: Why we end our Kickstarter campaign

Over the past weeks and months, we have dedicated a good deal of hard work to planning what we are convinced is a great and valuable project: the home version of our learning game “Professor S.”. With the help of a wonderful team, we thoroughly organised the shooting and production of the web series and included buffers for any conceivable situation that might come in the way. We budgeted the costs in great detail to cover all imaginable contingencies and came up with plan B scenarios for all sorts of possible outcomes.

Yet, the Kickstarter campaign awaited us as a big project with some challenges of its own, which eventually led to the decision to end our campaign early.

Let us quickly share the three lessons we learned:

1. Success comes from failure 

This was the first crowdfunding campaign for all of us. We are grateful for every single supporter. We have done a bunch of things right and proudly so, but we have also made a bunch of mistakes (see 2 & 3). This knowledge will be our fuel for the next time.

2. Timing is everything 

Summer time is holiday time. Teachers and families make up a considerable percentage of the “Professor S.” viewership. They have to plan in accordance with the school holiday calendar. Sounds obvious but as much thought as we’ve put into the production, we underestimated the impact of good timing.

3. Get the people talking 

What is our web series “Professor S.”? It’s fun, say the kids. It makes for a great lesson, say the teachers. It’s entertainment we can trust, say the parents. But we had to learn that having a good project is not enough: The success of the campaign lives and dies with the people talking about it.

In the weeks and months to come, we will put all our efforts into making use of the valuable lessons from this first installment of a “Professor S.” crowdfunding campaign and are excited to apply them in the future.

***

“Professor S.” is the world’s first and only interactive web series where you and your kids get to travel through time for real! The story world of “Professor S.” magically merges with your own reality where big adventures await. You will be challenged to exciting quests where you get to explore many weird and wonderful worlds. You become part of the story in a season of six riveting live-action episodes. You choose your own destinations: Do you want to see dinosaurs? No problem. Fancy living in a medieval castle? Just say the word. Have you always dreamed about meeting Albert Einstein or glimpsing the future of humanity? You are in the driver's seat of your very own time machine! 


The concept is simple. Kids accept real life missions from the story characters and develop their own solutions to Professor S. problems. The tools: a computer, a camera and everything they can find to help Professor S. You could call it a real life hacking adventure. They gain coding as well as arts and crafts experience and document their adventures by creating films about what they learn.

To make this epic journey through time and space come to life, we have assembled an international team of film producers, developers, graphic designers, engineers, storytellers, and teaching professionals. Together, we made this bold vision a reality for kids in German schools. Now, we are ready to bring these great adventures into your living room - and in English too! Get ready to enter the world of “Professor S.”.

***

What do you get with “Professor S.”?

  • An exciting time travel adventure: calling at many glamorous locations: from the Stone Age to a bright, distant future 
  • An interactive web series: engaging real world game-play driven by live action episodic storytelling delivered online 
  • Serious entertainment: tired of interactive play? relax and enjoy a great selection of fun and educational content 
  • Fun for the whole family: kids (age 8-12) and grown ups all love playing Professor S. 
  • Easy access: no software to install, works in any browser and on any device; all with a single subscription 
  • A beautiful and simple interface: tested in schools, adapted for any device, can be accessed from anywhere 
  • A time travel ticket for every supporter: choose your own adventure

***

  • … you dream about time travel. We are talking real time travel. Want to witness an exciting medieval tournament, join your grandparents at school or even catch a glimpse of your city in 2034? “Professor S.” makes it possible for you. 
  • … you would love to be part of your favourite show. Did you ever want to discuss politics with Frank Underwood in House of Cards or sing along with Robin in How I Met Your Mother? In “Professor S.”, you can do just that. You are part of the action. 
  • … you believe that learning can be fun. Less facts, more exploration. Less memorising, more experiencing.

***

The Game: An Exciting Time Travel Adventure

Imagine you are ten years old. School is alright, but you’d much rather play outside or watch your favourite tv show. One day, a mysterious package arrives in the mail. It contains a handheld time machine with a secret note that unlocks a video message by Professor S. All of a sudden you are right in the middle of the action. 

From then on, it’s all hands on deck. You engage in real life quests and shape world history as you go along: you discover fire in Stone Age, explore medieval castles, and meet with intelligent robots in the future. As if by magic, the quests cover everything there is to learn in life: mathematics, languages, music and even sports ... And that’s not all: Your adventure becomes part the story of “Professor S.” and so forms a bridge between the virtual and the real world.  

The website and the handheld time machine connect you with these two worlds. Through them you can choose destinations, exchange messages, and even send and receive real objects. Occasionally you also receive a video message like this: “Time explorers, we just started working with Leonardo da Vinci on his new flying machine and designed a few models. Can you test how far they can fly?”

The Protagonists: Three Quirky Time Travellers - And You

Video messages from Professor S. and his crew keep you up to date on their journey through time and space. Whenever Professor S. and Jeanette encounter a problem with the time machine or there is an incident at one of their landing spots, they get in touch with you. Now, it’s up to you to save them. Research, experiment, produce and test your results – then report back to them with your advice.

The Web Series: You Choose The Next Destination

With “Professor S.”, you are the director of your own adventure. You, children and parents, are have the power to choose the next destination in time and space. 

Many destinations have already been tried and tested by hundreds of curious school kids all over Germany, which is why we decided to focus on those first.

For the home version of “Professor S.”, we will therefore adapt existing episodes, where kids: 

  • explore a Renaissance monastery and the first printing press. 
  • pass the bicycle test with Jeanette.
  • learn to speak in whale language on a research ship in the Antarctic.
But we will also explore new destinations, where the kids:

  • will help Leonardo da Vinci with his flying machines.  
  • solve the mystery surrounding the Oracle of Delphi.
  • explore the cities of the future.

The Content: Intelligent, Funny, Immersive

A Game Experience That Engages The Whole Family

“Professor S.” combines on and off-screen gameplay. Each chapter features two video messages from Professor S.: the first video is a call for help. The second video is sent as a reward at the end of each chapter. Sandwiched in between these two videos, the professor sends concrete tasks that cover all subjects – nature, maths, the arts, languages, sports .... Occasionally, snippet videos are released when the kids send real objects to Professor S. via the time portal. Will the children be able to help and rescue the time travellers?

Children and parents: Get ready to play! In any browser, on any device, with one subscription. Through the “Professor S.” website or the Time Portal, a smart mini-computer-time-machine-connective-device.

The Tools: A Time Machine And A Website

“Professor S.” is a web-based game that works with any any internet enabled device (PC, handheld tablet, phone).

There are two different points of entry for pupils and parents:

1. The Kids’ App: a safe website where children can follow the web series and interact with the story characters

2. The Parent App: a website where parents can follow the storyline and choose content for their kids if they wish to

In addition, the game hardware, a story-based device called the Time Portal, enhances the story experience for both kids and parents. With the little time machine constructed by Professor S. himself, they can even exchange little objects with the story characters!

***

„Learning becomes an adventure.”

Laura, 9 years

„With many tasks you only learn some twenty years later what you needed this knowledge or that skill for. With “Professor S.” I have a very effective answer to the question: Why do we have to learn this? To help Professor S., of course.”

Jan Niedergesäß, Kolumbus Primary School Berlin

picture: children aged 8-12 playing “Professor S. School”

***

The home version of “Professor S.” links an exciting web series and an innovative gaming concept for children aged 8-12. This is completely unique on the market. While working on the background architecture, we have also done our homework and researched the most important factors that make films, games, and media-based learning fun for children.

Amongst them are:

  • entertaining storylines 
  • exciting gameplay 
  • engaging tasks with a real-life purpose 

Most films and games on the market today focus on one of these areas. While it is good to stay focused, we had the gut feeling that a combination of all three of these would create an entirely new play experience.

This is why we started working on “Professor S. School”. Its success shows that our gut feeling – together with our team’s professional experience and enthusiasm – was leading us in the right direction.

Today, the three key components of our interactive serial games are: 

1. telling compelling stories that frame engaging quests and adventures 
2. experiencing both the real-life world and the digital world 
3. experimenting with traditional and New Media

The reactions from pupils, parents, and teachers all over the world but also from film and game professionals at conventions such as the Gamelab 2015 (Barcelona, Spain) or the Lego Foundation Conference (Billund, Denmark), encourage us to continue and push further with the home version of “Professor S.”.

***

We have assembled a variety of exciting rewards for you, including The "Kraut Funding Song", performed by Professor S. himself for all you supporters!

***

Who we are: a Berlin-based film and game laboratory that wants to turn learning into an exciting and fun adventure.

What we do: developing interactive learning games in a web series format to connect transmedia storyworlds with the real-life worlds of children.

How we do it: uniting creative professional minds from different backgrounds: film producers, developers, graphic designers, storytellers, and teaching professionals.

Why we do it: to spark a passion in children (and adults!) for the small and big adventures in all areas of life – from arts to sciences – and making little changes in the big world of education.

Learn more at www.ludinc.com.

Or dive into the “Professor S.” founder story:

***

Your contribution will help us develop and produce the web series for the home version of “Professor S.”. Our five Kickstarter milestones help us set a time frame and estimate the workload to reach that goal.

These milestones are at the center of the project and are complemented by a couple of other steps, the realisation of which is already being supported by a pool of investors:

  • … adapt the architecture and design of “Professor S. School” to fit the requirements at home. That way, every child can follow Professor S. and his crew from home or on the go – along with their parents. 
  • … develop learning content to supplement and extend the selection of learning themes at home including work sheets and messages from Professor S. 
  • … make the entire game available in English in order to appeal to an international market. 

***

Using the revenues of the crowdfunding campaign and together with a backup by our investors we will finance the six chapter web series for the home version of “Professor S.”, specifically the following:

  • Production value/design 
  • Set dressing 
  • Set conception und -setup 
  • Professional supporting cast 
  • Post-production (archive footage, green screen…) 
  • Editing Soundtrack 
  • And possibly even an animal in the series… (mind the laboratory rat!) 

Here is a more detailed breakdown of our budget for the webseries:

The Kickstarter campaign will cover roughly 50% (25.019€) of these costs, the other 50% (25.840€) are already taken care of by us, that is LudInc.

***

 “Professor S.” is already being played in schools across Germany. Visit www.ludinc.com to learn more about “Professor S. School”.

Any questions left unanswered? Just write us an email: kickstarter@ludinc.com

***

Risks and challenges

After financing the home version of the “Professor S.” web series (and once we finished dancing our asses off) we are facing a big pile of work. And although we carefully planned and structured the project, there will always be uncertainties around the next corner:

=> Organisational challenges that force us to postpone the shooting (oh yes, there is certainly real world evidence for Murphy’s law!)
=> Technical concerns include scaling and minimising the cost of the streaming media content
=> After finishing production stage, distribution, particularly on an international level, can, of course, also be an obstacle.

(Oh, and never underestimate the disruptive power of the laboratory rat.)

In preparation for the project, however, we have imagined all possible and impossible situations that might turn into risks and challenges. How are we prepared for them? Our five keys to dealing with any of such circumstances are:

1. Experience: Our experienced and international team is a unique blend of different backgrounds, culturally and professionally – so there is always someone with a fresh point of view to tackle a challenge. Also, the episodes of “Professor S. School” have provided us with a wealth of experience in developing, producing, and testing. These come in handy, now that it is time to create a home version of “Professor S.”.

2. Buffers: When planning any of our projects, we always allow for the magical 20% buffer, particularly with respect to finance and scheduling. This allows for a certain flexibility when a shot takes more time or equipment than expected.

3. Plan B: Organising the filming of a children’s web series is a complex task – both in terms of project organisation and audience-focussed challenges such as making sure the narrative is consistent. This is why we always think ahead and include backup solutions and plan B alternatives into our planning.

4. Network: A strong international network backs our projects with advice and support from development to distribution. Amongst our partners are, for instance, the well-known codespark game developers in the US, and one of the biggest educational publishers in Germany, Westermann.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €1 or more About $1.08

    "Time Travel Companion"

    Get:
    the "Kraut Funding Song". Listen to Professor S.' catchy song at home or on the go - with your morning coffee, on your way to work or while doing the laundry.

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    Pledge €3 or more About $3

    "Time Travel Stowaway"

    Get:
    your own ready to print time portal sticker
    +
    the first 1 month subscription of the home version of "Professor S."
    Be one of the first to watch the new episodes and play the game!
    +
    the "Kraut Funding Song"

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    Pledge €9 or more About $10

    "Time Traveller Economy"

    Get:
    a digital postcard from Professor S.
    (Do you know what an Antarctic expedition 30 years ago looked like?)
    +
    the first 3 month subscription of the home version of "Professor S."
    +
    the "Kraut Funding Song"

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    Pledge €18 or more About $19

    "Time Travel Business"

    Get:
    an inspiring wallpaper "Inside the Time Lab"
    +
    the first 6 month subscription of the home version of "Professor S."
    +
    the "Kraut Funding Song"

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    Pledge €30 or more About $32

    "Time Traveller 1st Class"

    Get:
    a screensaver from one of Professor S.' adventures. Knights? Dinosaurs?
    +
    the first 1 year subscription of the home version of "Professor S."
    +
    the "Kraut Funding Song"

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    Pledge €50 or more About $54

    "Time Travel Ground Crew"

    Get:
    a real postcard from Professor S. (choose from three time travel destinations)
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    Pledge €75 or more About $81

    "Time Travel Cabin Crew"

    Get:
    a Professor S. time travel clock (so you can wake up in the stone age and go to your lunch date in the Renaissance)
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    Pledge €100 or more About $108

    "Time Travel Flight Controller"

    Get:
    a Professor S. notebook to keep track of your time travel adventures – and the measurements of any cute dinosaurs you might want to bring home
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    Pledge €150 or more About $162

    "Time Travel Reporter"

    Get:
    a beautiful Professor S. scrapbook including a stack of time travel photos and a lot of space to collect items and document your adventures
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    Pledge €200 or more About $217

    "Time Travel Co-Pilot"

    Get:
    a Professor S. crew T-shirt: Welcome to the time laboratory crew. Please fasten your seat belts!
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    Pledge €250 or more About $271

    "Time Travel Pilot"

    Get:
    a Professor S. backpack: As a member of the crew, you need to be prepared for any situation at any destination. Don't forget about the dinosaurs...
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    Pledge €500 or more About $541

    "Time Travel Experiment Advisor"

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    a Professor S. experiment kit full of surprises
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    Pledge €700 or more About $758

    "Time Travel Consultant"

    Get:
    a Time Portal and a 1 year subscription for "Professor S." for a school class of your choice
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    Pledge €1,000 or more About $1,083

    "Time Travel Supervisor"

    Get:
    your supporter credits on the LudInc website (www.ludinc.com)
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    Pledge €5,000 or more About $5,413

    "Time Travel Program Manager"

    Get:
    a personalized Thank You video message from Professor S.
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    Pledge €7,000 or more About $7,578

    "Time Travel Director"

    Get:
    a visit to the film set of new "Professor S." episodes in or around Berlin, Germany, including a dinner on set with the main cast and producers (travel and accomodation costs not included)
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Funding period

- (29 days)